Residents of Okitipupa, in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, appeared to have found succour in Hausa traders in Sabo Market in the town where they now swap their old naira notes for foodstuff and condiments.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that traders and commercial motorists in the town began full rejection of the old N500 and N1,000 notes immediately after President Muhammadu Buhari’s addressed on Thursday, sparing only N200 as continued legal tender, until April 10.
A visit by NAN correspondent to Sabo Market in Okitipupa on Friday, showed a large crowd of residents, openly swapping their old N500 and N1000 notes for items like rice, beans, tomatoes, pepper, and onions among others.
NAN also reports that the Hausa traders, in turn, jacked up the prices of their foodstuffs, as a rubber of rice and beans formerly sold for N1,500 and N800, now cost N2,500 and N1,500 respectively.
In the same vein, the quantities of pepper, tomatoes and onions, hitherto sold for between N200 and N300, have now been increased to between N500 and N800.
Alhaji Amidu Abubakar, a Hausa rice trader said he had sold more than seven bags of rice between Thursday and Friday, and that residents were indeed trooping to the market to swap their old naira notes for foodstuffs.
“My sales have increased since yesterday because residents here are no longer collecting the old notes and we are still collecting because it’s Nigeria money,” Abubakar said.
Mr Kabiru Muhammed, a beans trader, said he had sold eight bags of beans since Thursday, saying that he was surprised at the crowd that suddenly began to besiege the market yesterday (Thursday).
“I have sold eight bags of beans since yesterday, the price of a rubber is N800 if you have the new notes, but it is N1,500 for old notes,” he said.
Another Hausa condiment trader also said his pepper, tomatoes and onions sales have increased, saying he was happy with the turnover.
Mrs Rebecca Korede, a resident, said she heard from her neighbour that Hausa traders were still collecting the old notes, in exchange for foodstuffs, and that since she still had large amounts of the old notes, she had to patronise the Sabo market.
“I still have a large number of old notes and our Yoruba market women no longer collect the old notes, so I have to patronise Hausa traders at Sabo Market to exchange some part of the old notes for foodstuffs, so I don’t lose on both sides,” she said.
Another resident, Mrs Modeola Ajayi also said she preferred swapping the old notes for foodstuffs, rather than wasting the large chunk of the old notes she still had at hand.
“Although, these Hausa traders have increased the prices of their goods, do I have any other choice? I have to patronise Sabo market in order to relieve me of the frustration concerning the old notes,” Ajayi said.
Mr Olusegun Adeyi, another resident also said that the Yoruba traders should also reason along and take bold steps like their Hausa counterparts on the issue of the old notes so that the frustration would not degenerate into further protests.